GRE Help

(By Avin Mittal - IITB)

I took the GRE on 25th of July and managed to score 1430 (630 verbal and 800 quant). The following is drawn from my personal experiences while preparing for the GRE.

Study Material

Barrons - Get the latest edition and finish up the 50 word lists. The tests at the end are pretty good and are good practice. Also, however stupid they may seem, read all the tactics and tips given in the book.

Big Book - Available online as pdfs as well as hard copy. Do the verbal tests in this book. They are quite good and close to the actual GRE standard as it is written by actual ETS guys. Don't bother doing the quantitative sections as they are too easy and well below the standard of the actual exam. On the paper test, follow the same funda as on the computer based test ie do the questions in the order provided.

Softwares - Kaplan , Princeton , Cambridge , 800 tests , Powerprep - Do the tests in the Powerprep when you have finished preparation as the scores on Pwerprep are considered to be quite close to your score. Kaplan's tests are a bit tougher than the actual test and are considered to be a lower bound on your score on the GRE.

Access to some dictionary - or WordWeb - Write down the words you come across as unknown during your practice tests and look them up.

Essays prep book - Saw a book by ARCO, good one read the fundae and get an idea about the basic structure and planning of the essay.

Don'ts for the GRE

The following are the things that can go wrong while preparing or on the test day.The information below is based on the author's personal experience and may or may not be applicable for everyone. So, read ahead at your own risk ...

General Tips

1. Don't try to second guess the CAT at any stage. Trying to guess things like you are doing well or not , whether the current question is tougher or easier than the previous one don't serve you well.

2. Don't try to guess your score at any point or look too far like thinking how many questions can you get wrong for achieving your desired score. Instead take the exam one question at a time without worrying for the scores or your previous responses.

3. Don't answer a question on the exam based on a similar question that you might have seen elsewhere and sounds familiar. Think logically and answer the question asked.

4. Don't let panic sink in at any stage of the exam. Even if you feel things are not going well, keep your cool and focus on the question currently on the screen.

Verbal Section Tips
1. Don't think all words that you get are going to be from Barrons. Even the first 10 questions which are supposed to be easy might have some words from outside Barrons. So, be prepared for anything.

2. Don't think before hand that you are going to get all straightforward questions with one clear answer and rest of the options as rubbish. Especially in analogies and sentence completion questions, more than one answer may seem appropriate. Think more critically and see if you can get the answer. If not, eliminate the obviously wrong answers and guess. Even while doing the practice tests, keep track of your success as a guesser.

3. Don't take too much time reading the passage given.Read the passage carefully, so that you don't have to read it a second time while fast enough not to consume too much time. Also, you can skip the details on the first reading and just pay attention to the structure of the passage. You can always look up the details if a question asks you to. Don't look at a word only in terms of its meaning. Think of the context in which it is used and it might increase your chances of getting the question right.

4. Don't let words like 'I think' or 'Sometimes' come in your sentence for expressing the relationship between two words on an analogy question. There is a clear analogy between the two words given and using such words indicates you have not got the meaning clearly and are likely of getting the question wrong.

Quantitative Section Tips
1. Don't consider it to be too easy and be complacent. Be careful if you find a question particularly easy, especially on the comparison questions.

2. Don't hurry through the section. Use the 45 minutes given wisely and if possible, double check your answers.

3. Don't try to do too many calculations mentally. Use the scratch paper provided.

Analytical Writing Section Tips
1. Don't go to the exam without practice. Write some essays in the given time limit before going for the exam to get an idea of how much you can write in the given time.

2. Don't mug up the points for the essays from any source as that would hamper your thinking process and pervent you from writing a fluent essay.

One final advice
Don't waste your precious time reading useless articles like this one on the net :) Put your head down and study well for the exam. Studying and preparing well are the only things that carry you on the exam day.

Sarkaar Raj : Review

There are some movies which you wish you could watch again and again. SR(Read: Sarkaar Raj) is among those rare gems. I saw SR yerterday and kicked myself instantly for not seeing it earlier.

The movie deals with the turns and twirls of politics in Maharashtra. Direction of the movie is top-notch, as is the editing. Performances by Abhishek & Amitabh are par excellence. Aishwarya though fail to live up to the standards set by Abhishek & Amitabh but she's good(and is looking stunning in the movie!). Performance of other actors in small roles is also worth noticing. Music of the movie could have been better. SR keeps you on the toes throughout the running time, be it first half or second half.

In 2 words this movie simply is a: Must Watch !!